Date of Birth: 5/10/1992 (2015 Opening Day Age: 22)
Acquired: Trade for RHP Joakim Soria, July 2015
Background: An outfielder and second baseman in college, Jones was a strong collegiate player for LSU before becoming a third round pick of the Pirates in 2013. After raking (.311/358/.459) in the NYPL during his debut, Jones continued to hit well in the Low-A South Atlantic league in 2014 where he hit .288 with 21 doubles and 23 home runs. Though his numbers dipped in High-A this season, he has continued to flash a well-rounded skill set and was recently promoted to Double-A prior to the trade.
|2015 Stats - Hitting|
Body: Live, athletic body; premium athlete; good strength; has explosiveness and fast twitch flashes.
Hit: Aggressive swinger that likes to attack pitches anywhere near the zone; struggles to recognize spin; plus bat speed that is generated with a loose swing; strong arms and wrists; snaps the bat around like a weapon; uncontrolled aggression that has plenty of swing and miss; needs to make more contact for batting average to show at highest level; likely below-average hitter with modest OBP because of aggressive approach; will refine current ability some to reach below-average projection. Grade – Present 3+/Future 4
Power: Ball jumps off his bat when he makes contact; easy power thanks to natural strength and high-end bat speed; can drive ball to all parts of the field but really shows it off to pull side; can’t always get to power in game situations because of trouble making consistent contact; power has average potential but will play down to below-average or fringe level; should find doubles and home runs in his game. Grade – 5 (raw)/4 (playable)
Speed: Above-average runner with long strides and an athletic gait; gets up to speed quickly despite longer strides; speed shows very well when taking extra bases but not as well down the line to first base; showcased speed in past life as a center fielder; has instincts on bases and can steal 15-20 bases a year with consistent playing time; will maintain speed thanks to athleticism and body type. Grade – 5+/5+
Defense: Rough defender; lacks natural instincts for the position; solid range to both sides because of athleticism, long strides, and effort, but lacks first-step quickness; average hands; makes routine plays most of the time; won’t make too many flashy or truly challenging plays; below-average defender that is improving but likely won’t grade better than fringe-average long-term; likely fits better at keystone and showed well in center field during college career; has skills to play anywhere on the diamond at levels ranging from fringe to above-average. Grade – 4/4+ (as SS)
Arm: Struggles with arm strength on left side; arm comes up short of positional requirements but can work if he is playing 3B/SS on a limited basis; has arm strength for second base and he has shown enough for center field in the past; fringe-average overall strength; ball carries well; has accuracy on throws. nities to use arm because he should see field infrequently. Grade – 4+/4+
Other: Gamer; plays hard and with aggression in all phases; hard worker with quality makeup.
Summary: Multi-skilled player with tools that are fringe-average or better in all phases; totality of tools allows him to have MLB projection; below-average hitter thanks to aggressive approach and pitch recognition issues; power has legitimate MLB average potential but plays down with hit tool; above-average run; below-average glove at shortstop and will grade better at other positions (2B/OF); has versatility; fringe arm strength that can play better at 2B/OF.
Risk: Moderate risk; Hit tool could limit power from playing in games; lacks carrying tool.
Projection: Versatile, if not high quality, defender; can play all over the infield and outfield with enough skill to avoid embarrassment; pop and speed are quality big league tools but both are limited as a result of questionable hit tool; overall player projects to utility role where weaknesses can be masked by moving player around and avoiding everyday action; should be MLB ready late in 2016 or early 2017; quality bench player with super-utility potential.
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